Using this poem, how would you describe Cummings' views on modern society?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Cummings doesn't allow much room for "modern society" in this poem, just himself and his beloved; we see this in his punctuation, where commas, semicolons, and parentheses have no spaces following them. He tries to cram all of love's many dichotomies into the one poem: the beloved is described as having both "power" and "fragility"; likewise, he reveals her beauty/sweetness ("your slightest look will easily unclose me") as well as her coldness ("or if your wish be to close me,i and / my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly, . . . .). Perhaps, then, Cummings' poem comments on modern love, love that has room to make choices, to stay or withdraw.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I'd describe it (modern society) as far less important than the individual and his /her connection with others. This poem focuses on love, desire, and how the connection between two people makes what is essentially a private world. The poet's focus is on the personal, allowing him to almost forget modern society.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial